Shillong, Nov 25: The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and the Shillong Socio-Cultural Assamese Students’ Association (SSASA) have clarified that the ongoing agitations are not ethnic-oriented or a Khasi-Assamese conflict.
In a joint statement issued by the KSU and the SSASA, they stated that the agitations are directed towards both the governments of Assam and Meghalaya for their indifference and lethargic approach in resolving the persisting border disputes for the past 50 years resulting in the loss of several lives.
The KSU and SSASA want to convey that the fight is against the governments of Assam and Meghalaya for their nonchalance towards solving border issues which have plagued the lives of common people living in these areas from time to time and not against the Assamese community whether in Shillong or elsewhere in Meghalaya.
Both the organisations has also appeal to the general public not to be swayed by rumours and misinformation but to ensure that the brotherhood is maintained by both communities, especially in Shillong and Guwahati.
The two organisations also appealed to both communities to refrain from mudslinging and posting negative comments, especially in social media which might lead to unwanted situations but to understand that both communities are eagerly looking for an early solution to the border disputes so that both the communities can live with dignity and in harmony.
“It is understandable that the common citizen of Assam has nothing to do with the incident and thus, it is imperative that the cordial relationship between the Khasis and the Assamese that had existed since time immemorial should not be corroded by misunderstandings and misinformation at this juncture,” KSU general secretary Donald V. Thabah and SSASA, president Surajeet Hazarika said.
The joint statement stated that the relationship between the Khasis and the Assamese are not merely in terms of being neighbours but on looking back in history, one will find a plethora of evidence on collaborations, exchange of cultures and trade.
According to both the groups, Khasi archers were part of the contingent of the army of the great General Lachit Borphukan who fought against the invading Mughals.
“Similarly, students’ group of both communities, the KSU and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) are components of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) sharing common objectives and aspirations,” they stated.
According to Thabah and Hazarika, the KSU and AASU supported each other during the Anti- Foreigners’ Movement in both states.
The SSASA is an active supporter of the Khasi community during the tumultuous period of the 1970-1980s in Meghalaya when there was a state wide agitation against foreign nationals in Shillong.
Both the KSU and the SSASA stated that till date, both the organisations are working together to maintain the bond between the Khasis and Assamese in Meghalaya.
The KSU and the SSASA has jointly demanded for setting up of police outposts by Meghalaya along the sensitive border areas, the arrest and punishment of the people involved in the firing incident in accordance with the law and the immediate solution to the vexed border disputes taking into account the mandate of the border residents.